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UPDATE: Water system failure leaves Osoyoos on boil water advisory

Power outage at the station caused reservoir to run dry, and the main reservoir critically low
Yana Dee took this photo of her bath tub in Osoyoos on Feb. 11, 2024. The Town of Osoyoos’ water system had a critical failure. (Yana Dee)

A significant instrumentation failure Sunday night has put the entire water system for the Town of Osoyoos on a boil water advisory.

The overnight failure on Feb. 11 caused one of the water reservoirs to run dry, and left the main reservoir for the town’s domestic water system critically low.

Residents posted pictures of dark brown water flowing from taps and in toilets on Feb. 11.

“It’s not a new problem. I’ve lived in Osoyoos for 1.5 years and I’ve seen at least three major episodes of black water like this, and countless small episodes of orange water for hours,” said Yana Dee who took a picture of the dark water in the bath tub on Sunday.

On Monday afternoon, the Town said a power outage on Feb. 10 led to the a malfunction and the the station shutting down and the main monitoring computer going offline.

The drop in reservoir levels stirred up settled particles, leading to a Town-wide Water Quality Advisory. Operators are actively flushing out the system and conducting necessary water quality tests, said the town in a release.

In the meantime, people with weakened immune systems and wishing additional protection are being directed to take precautions when drinking, washing fruits and vegetables, making beverages or ice, or brushing their teeth.

Those residents are asked to either boil their water for at least one minute before using it or find alternative sources for the time being.

Town staff are in the process of placing signs throughout the community as well as systematic water main flushing to address the discolouration.

Water quality sampling is being collected, and the results will be known by Friday this week. They will provide the necessary information to determine whether the notices can be lifted.

The areas affected by the boil water advisory are below:

Town of Osoyoos:

*115th Street

*Meadowlark Drive

*Wren Place and Drive

*Raven Court

*Finch Crescent

*Swan Crescent

*Sandpiper Place

*Killdeer Place

*Curlew Court

South Rural Area:

*107th Street

*42nd Avenue

*26th Avenue

*12th Avenue

*6th Avenue

North Rural Area:

*Hwy 97 north of Hwy 3

*100th Avenue

*116th Avenue

*115th Avenue

*89th Street

The Penticton Western News has reached out to the Town for more information.

This latest water incident is a separate one from the boil water advisory for people connected to Rural Water District 8, which has been on an advisory since April 2023. That district draws water from Osoyoos Lake with limited treatment.

READ MORE: Osoyoos budget meeting sees scores of frustrated residents

The Town’s aging infrastructure has been the focus of much debate over the adopted and then rescinded budget for 2024. A large number of capital projects for the next five years are focused on the water system’s infrastructure.

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